[r31] Transitioning into the future (1/21/2011)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Start Date: 1/21/2011 All Day
End Date: 1/21/2011
In the third week of session, the pace of the legislature is starting to finally pick up. It's been exciting to be a part of the debates taking place in committee meetings, where legislation is introduced and given the chance for public testimony. Bills are now being scheduled for floor hearings, where we will surely see even more action.
Job creation, education reform and the budget are the three main issues we'll see addressed this session, but there are other pieces of legislation I believe are also important to the improvement of our state.

I proposed legislation to protect Hoosiers' health, safety and well-being. Having served in law enforcement for many years, I saw firsthand the effects of drug abuse. While we often think that drugs are bought and sold on the street, they can also be found sitting in our medicine cabinets in the form of unused prescriptions.

I proposed House Bill 1121 that would allow the Board of Pharmacy to create rules that would let pharmacies participate in a program to accept unused prescriptions. When I was the sheriff of Blackford County, I organized an unused medication drop off, resulting in filling eight 55-gallon barrels.

The legislation does not require a police officer to be present while collecting these unused medications, but rather will allow them to fulfill their other duties of keeping us safe.

Another bill I've proposed protects those who have served our country in the armed forces. The legislation would remove an assessed value cap that applies to disabled veterans' property values, making it possible for more veterans to receive a property tax deduction.

While the majority of the legislation I've proposed would benefit all of Indiana, I think it's important for members to think on a smaller scale too - drafting bills that provide options to the people in our own districts.

We've seen many cities and towns make the decision to go smoke-free or limit the areas where smoking is allowed.  At the request of Hartford City officials, I've proposed House Bill 1120, which would place a public question on the ballot in Hartford City in November 2011 regarding a smoking ban.

The question would ask voters whether the city should adopt a municipal ordinance limiting the areas in the city where smoking will be permitted.

In addition to the above legislation, I've also proposed two other house bills.

One would disqualify an individual for unemployment benefits if he or she refuses to submit to a drug test or tests positive for drugs during a test as a condition of employment.

Another is a piece of legislation that I've had the opportunity to co-author to require precious metal dealers to verify the identity of the person from whom the metal is purchased. The value of precious metals has increased significantly, with more people selling their jewelry for extra cash; this legislation will ensure the transaction is being done accurately. It will also assist in returning metal to people who may have been a victim of theft.

You can see what takes place during House committee meetings, floor discussions or follow the status of any bill at www.in.gov/legislative.

As I've said before, we have a lot to accomplish this session. I'm excited to be serving House District 31 and carrying your voice in the Statehouse.